Ducati 959 vs. 899 Panigale – what’s changed?

Here's a detailed look at how the new 959 Panigale differs from the outgoing 899

THE 959 Panigale isn’t just an 899 with a larger motor and controversial exhaust. The looming Euro4 emissions standard meant Ducati had to take the 899 back to the drawing board and get their thinking caps on in order to reduce noise and emissions.

The official data released by Ducati gives us an insight of the changes but during the press conference Ducati revealed more details on the new model. Here’s what different on the 959 compared to the 899.


The most obvious change is the capacity hike, up 57cc from 898cc to 955cc, thanks to a longer stroke (up from 57.2mm to 60.8mm) but the bore remains 100mm. Consequently, power us up from a claimed 148bhp at 10,750rpm to 157bhp at 10,500rpm and torque is also improved, up 6ftlb to 79.2lbft at 9,000rpm. However the power figures only tell one side of the story, check out Ducati’s dyno chart to see how the 959 monsters the 899 all the way through the rev-range.

In order to meet the Euro4 noise requirements, Ducati have revised the engine internals and casings. The 959 features a new crankshaft, camshaft, new pistons and con-rods (hopefully stronger than than the 899’s which did have problems when used hard). The timing chain has been revised to produce less noise while the engine casings and head are thicker to deaden the noise from the internals. The gearbox has been revised but the individual ratios and primary drive ratios remain the same - although the rear sprocket on the 959 is one-tooth lower, from 44-teeth to 43-teeth.

The 959 also features a secondary ‘showerhead’ injector, located directly above the piston and borrowed from the ‘R’ Panigales. The 959’s exhaust diameter is 60mm, up from 55mm on the 899 and now identical to the 1299 Panigale's. Unless you’ve been asleep for the last 3 months, you’ll know the underslung exhaust has been replaced by a more conventional shotgun-style exhaust, designed to not only lower emissions but also move some of the Panigale’s noise away from the centre of the bike where noise tests are focused.

There’s also the addition of a slipper clutch and a high-flow air filter. The DQS Ducati Quick Shifter has been revised with ‘MotoGP derived’ algorithms.

Chassis & design

Ducati’s innovative monocoque aluminium frame reamins the same on the 959 as on the 899 and while the suspension is identical: 43mm fully-adjustable Showa BPF front forks and a fully-adjustable Sachs rear shock, the shock on the 959 EU version is 2mm taller to compensate for the shotgun-style exhausts. The wheelbase of the 959 is also 5mm longer than the 899.

The bodywork is essentially the same as the 1299’s and features a wider fairing, larger air intakes, a taller screen and shorter mirror stalks. The footpegs are machined aluminium, the same as those used on the 1299 and the swingarm has been located 4mm lower to aid traction.

The 959 weighs 5kg more than the outgoing 899 and broadly speaking 1.5kg of that weight lies in the engine and 3.5kg in the new exhaust.

The wheel sizes and construction remain identical, as do tyre sizes.

Ducati’s claimed fuel consumption for the 959 improves on the 899, at 5.6L/100km, compared to the 899’s 5.9L/100km and CO2 emissions are also down, from 140g/km on the 899 to 133g/km on the 959.

The 959 also has a UK rrp of £13,095, up from the 899’s £12,495 price tag. The white colour still costs £200 extra.

Underslung exhaust

The good news is that a 1299 Panigale’s exhaust will fit the 959, meaning you might be able to find a keener-priced replacement than buying new from the factory. However, unfortunately you won’t be able to swap it without also replacing the 959’s belly pan, which on the EU-spec 959 is different to the US-spec 959 and 1299 models.

Click here to rear our first ride review of the 959 Panigale and here to watch an onboard lap of the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia.

Model tested: Ducati 959 Panigale

Price:  Red £13,095, White £13,295

Engine: 955cc Superquadro L-twin, Desmodromic liquid-cooled

Power: 157hp at 10,500rpm

Torque: 79lbft at 9,000rpm

Weight without fuel: 176kg

Frame: Monocoque Aluminium

Tank capacity: 17 litres

Seat height: 830mm

Colours: Red or White

Availability: Orders being taken now

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